The vast majority of criminal cases settle and do not go to trial. Trials are rare in criminal cases. Prosecutors generally don’t want to go to trial because that’s a lot of extra work. If the state went to trial on every single case, or the majority of cases, then the backlog would just be enormous. In Oklahoma County they have over 8,000 felonies charged per year. It would be totally overwhelming to the system to go to trial on more cases than they currently have now.
How Do You Advise Clients That Want To Plead Guilty To A Criminal Case?
I advise them to definitely plead not guilty to a criminal case initially. At the arraignment the judge is going to ask how you plead, and you are going to plead not guilty during your arraignment. Everybody pleads not guilty. Even if you believe you’re guilty or you actually are guilty, then you should still wait, and talk with your attorney. Have your attorney at least get a copy of at least the police report and other evidence to see where the prosecutor is coming from. Have your attorney find out what evidence actually exists against you, because you never know what the other side has until your attorney evaluates all the information.
For instance, evidence may go missing, or people may move and the prosecutor may not be able to get in contact with them. The traffic stop could have been a violation of the Fourth Amendment search and seizure laws. That’s only something that an attorney can evaluate and see how good of a case you have.
The plea offer that the prosecutor offers initially can usually be improved upon as time goes on after the attorney has a chance to look at the evidence, work with the client and try to get more information or have the client start working on some things that can improve the plea offer.
What Impact Does A Prior Arrest Or Conviction Have Upon A Criminal Case?
The impact of prior conviction depends on many factors. You have to look at what the prior arrest or conviction was for, the severity of it, and what the current charges are. If someone has a lot of criminal charges, then surely it will work against them. However, if it is only one crime, then that is not going to be as bad. You have to compare the crimes that they have committed in the past with the current charges. If it’s a similar crime to the one that they’re accused of committing this time, then that will work against the defendant.
There is also what Oklahoma calls enhanceable crimes. These are things such as DUIs, domestic violence, and drug cases. For example, the first time a DUI is charged, it is charged typically as a misdemeanor. A previous conviction or guilty plea for a DUI may cause the second DUI to be charged as a felony.
For more information on Settlement vs. Trial in Oklahoma, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (405) 633-3420 today.